Arnold mayor Ron Counts and his merry band of council members are upset about Jefferson County’s formula for distributing proceeds from the county 1/2 cent road and bridge tax. Right now the city gets about $900,000 of the $10 million the tax brings in. But of course, that’s not enough. They argue that they deserve more, since 28 percent of the revenue generated by the tax comes from purchases made in Arnold. Arnold asked for a change in the formula, which would have brought in about $300,000 more for the city, but the county council denied the request.
This is important because the tax will be up for renewal on the August 5 primary ballot, and Arnold is threatening to come out against the tax. Counts says the city could pass its own 3/8 cent sales tax and bring in more money. Of course, this would bring the city’s total sales tax in parts of town to over 9.5%. Do they really want that?
County councilman made the point that many people who live outside Arnold shop in Arnold, and thus that it is not merely Arnold residents paying sales taxes in Arnold (and that’s the whole point of sales taxes – get outsiders to pay for your stuff). City councilwoman Mary Coleman said this means Arnold’s roads get used more.
What needs to be looked at here is how much money does Arnold get from outside the city? There’s the TIF and TDD in place at Arnold shopping centers (they are fighting with Rock Ambulance over that, too), there’s the red light cameras (currently out of action, thanks to the courts), and then you have I-55, which the Arnold police use as a cash register by ticketing motorists that are passing through. Non-residents of Arnold pay a significant portion of the revenue generated from these programs. Maybe if Arnold wants to shut all of them down, we can talk about changing the road and bridge tax formula.